Headed into the weekend, I looked at several high school right-handers with the potential to ascend the draft board by June. So I thought I’d return to familiar territory today and share my thoughts on whom I believe to be the five best prep prospects.
Following the summer tournament and showcase circuit wrapped up with the Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American games in August, I was surprised by the lack of pitchers who made a lasting impression. Luckily, the position prospects are loaded with athleticism and an intriguing assortment of tools.
Williams already profiles as the classic high-risk, high-reward first-round draft pick—but that’s not necessarily bad. Overall he is still an incredibly raw player; he’s a phenomenal athlete with a 6’3”, 215-pound frame and loads of tools.
Winner of both the Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American home run derby in August, the left-handed hitter has explosive wrists with easy plus raw power.
However, his swing has too many working parts and, at some point, will need to be simplified to hit for some average. In the outfield, Williams seems to be a clean fit in right field given his above-average speed and arm.
I saw Ball last February in Chicago as a younger player at a draft preseason showcase, and he was the best prospect there. An elite athlete at 6’6”, 175 pounds with a highly projectable frame, he’s easily the top two-way talent in the draft class.
On the mound, the left-hander’s fastball sits 88-91 mph with arm-side action, and there’s no doubt he’ll add velocity—it’s just a question of how much. He can flash a downer breaking ball at times, and his changeup is thrown with convincing arm speed.
Personally, I like him more as an outfielder, where he has plus range thanks to above-average speed and long strides. His arm plays stronger in the outfield than it does on the mound, as I saw him at 93 mph twice, and that was nearly one year ago.
A left-handed hitter, Ball has an effortless swing with quiet raw, and he is comfortable using the whole field.
Stewart is a 6’3”, 195-pound right-hander who’s committed to Texas A&M as both a baseball player and the Aggies’ future quarterback. But with a fastball that sits 92-95 mph and scrapes 96, his asking price will likely be met sometime in the first round.
Even though I like his frame and loose arm action, he’s all upper body with mechanics that can become choppy; sometimes it just looks like he’s putting stress on his arm. Still, he’s a great athlete with the makings of three above-average pitches.
Frazier is a 6’, 190-pound outfielder and is absolutely explosive with all of his actions on the baseball field. He’s an incredibly athletic player and possesses some of the best bat speed I’ve ever seen in a high school hitter; not only is he strong, his wrists are all quick-twitch muscles.
His balanced and compact swing yields plus raw power to all fields, while his pitching recognition is advanced for a player his age. His speed and arm are both above-average to plus tools—depending on who you ask—but either way should strong enough for him to remain in center field.
There’s a lot to like about Austin Meadows. At 6’3”, 200 pounds, he has an ideal build with room to add strength but still retain his plus speed. At the plate, the left-handed hitter has a simple yet powerful swing with a lofty bat path that generates plus power to all fields.
His down tool is his arm, which is slightly above-average, but should work well in center field. He ranked as my No. 1 high school prospect headed into the summer and has done nothing to relinquish that title.